The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #107 - Melissa Boloña
Melissa Boloña is the founder and CEO of Beauty & The Broth. Ms. Boloña is also an actress and model. She has appeared in over 23 movie and 4 TV roles throughout her career with notable roles in Acts of Violence and Hurricane Heist. Early in her career, she worked part - time at a fine dining restaurant where she developed a passion for food and wellness. Melissa holds a bachelor’s degree in international marketing from Pace University. She also studied marketing at the American Business School in Paris.
After finding herself in an unexpected wellness rut, Ms. Bolaña turned to her sister for advice. The answer was simple: bone broth. She’s worked with the world’s best makeup artists and sampled every top beauty product there is, yet still credits bone broth as her #1 beauty secret. After falling in love with broth and wishing there were more local spots to grab a mug of it, Melissa knew this was the business she had always wanted to create.
LEARN MORE AT:
2:00 - IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life: Join Melanie's Facebook Group For A Weekly Episode GIVEAWAY, And To Discuss And Learn About All Things Biohacking! All Conversations Welcome!
2:10 - Follow Melanie On Instagram To See The Latest Moments, Products, And #AllTheThings! @MelanieAvalon
3:50 - FOOD SENSE GUIDE: Get Melanie's App To Tackle Your Food Sensitivities! Food Sense Includes A Searchable Catalogue Of 300+ Foods, Revealing Their Gluten, FODMAP, Lectin, Histamine, Amine, Glutamate, Oxalate, Salicylate, Sulfite, And Thiol Status. Food Sense Also Includes Compound Overviews, Reactions To Look For, Lists Of Foods High And Low In Them, The Ability To Create Your Own Personal Lists, And More!
4:35 - BEAUTYCOUNTER: Non-Toxic Beauty Products Tested For Heavy Metals, Which Support Skin Health And Look Amazing! Shop At beautycounter.com/melanieavalon For Something Magical! For Exclusive Offers And Discounts, And More On The Science Of Skincare, Get On Melanie's Private Beautycounter Email List At melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: melanieavalon.com/beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!
9:10 - Melissa's Personal Story
12:30 - feeling unwell on set
13:15 - hot broth on the go
14:00 - seeing improvements in skin, hair and digestion
15:15 - building a business
17:40 - where to start?
20:05 - inventing the recipes
23:40 - SUNLIGHTEN: Get Up To $200 Off AND $99 Shipping (Regularly $598) With The Code MelanieAvalon At MelanieAvalon.Com/Sunlighten! Forward Your Proof Of Purchase To Podcast@MelanieAvalon.com, To Receive A Signed Copy Of What When Wine!
The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #38 - Connie Zack
The Science Of Sauna: Heat Shock Proteins, Heart Health, Chronic Pain, Detox, Weight Loss, Immunity, Traditional Vs. Infrared, And More!
26:15 - finding a balance for your creative driven projects
30:30 - creating the bone broth
31:30 - sourcing and quality
34:30 - sodium content
35:15 - concentrated and shelf stable without preservatives
38:25 - preparation recommendation
40:30 - how does the cooking method effect nutrition and taste?
43:10 - FEALS: Feals Makes CBD Oil Which Satisfies ALL Of Melanie's Stringent Criteria - It's Premium, Full Spectrum, Organic, Tested, Pure CBD In MCT Oil! It's Delivered Directly To Your Doorstep. CBD Supports The Body's Natural Cannabinoid System, And Can Address An Array Of Issues, From Sleep To Stress To Chronic Pain, And More! Go To Feals.Com/Melanieavalon To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!
46:00 - Does Pressure Cooking Decrease Nutrients?
46:45 - what kind of bones?
47:15 - what about the release of toxins?
50:25 - how much to you recommend daily?
51:30 - working for yourself
54:05 - vegan options
55:00 - collagen
56:45 - the future of the company
57:00 - flavor bombs
57:50 - what benefit is there from each kind of animal broth?
59:00 - the female perspective in business
1:03:15 - gut health and the microbiome
1:04:45 - how to buy?
go to thebeautyandthebroth.com and use the code MelanieAvalon for a 15% discount!
Melanie Avalon: Hi, friends, welcome back to the show. I am really, really looking forward to the conversation that I am about to have. I feel it's a little bit different than a lot of the guests that I normally bring on this show, but it still really, really relates, and it's about something that I am truly, really, honestly very passionate about. So, today's guest, I am here with Melissa Boloña. She is actually an actress and model. She's been in over 23 movies for tv roles, with a lot of notable roles, and it's not just that, she's not here for the entertainment interview. She actually has done something really, really incredible. She discovered the health benefits of bone broth, and friends, listeners, you guys know I am a bit obsessed with bone broth. Actually, when I first wrote my book, the way I chose the chef to write the recipes, I picked a chef-- Ariane Resnick, her specialty is bone broth. I've just been so aware of the amazing, healing health benefits of it.
So, Melissa, and I'll let her tell her story in her own words but she, I guess, had the same epiphany and realization as well. But not only did she have this realization, friends, she started her entire own company, product line. I'm just so in awe. So, it's called Beauty & the Broth. I've had a chance to receive it. It's amazing. I am just really, really in awe of Melissa for taking the initiative to start an entire new company. I can't even imagine what that's like. I have so many questions about that. But just seeing such a strong, beautiful woman doing amazing things, it's really inspiring. and I just am really looking forward to this conversation. So, Melissa, thank you so much for being here.
Melissa Boloña: Thank you so much, Melanie. You just gave me the chills. That was so incredibly sweet, and I'm so excited to be talking with you today. I'm excited to get some great conversation going and be a part of this.
Melanie Avalon: No, I've been looking forward to this for so long, because I've been diving deep into looking at your website, and your work, and everything that you're doing. It's just so inspiring, and I have so many questions because I myself have thought about starting some sort of product line, but it just seems so daunting. To start things off, would you like to tell listeners your own personal story? I'm dying to know-- there's so much you could tell. In your acting career and all of that, was that the foundation for coming to bone broth? Were those related at all? How did this whole journey that ultimately led to Beauty & the Broth, how did that start?
Melissa Boloña: Absolutely, and yes. I consider my career in acting very much a part of this. I think it's helped me in a huge way, though, I will take you back to. I was raised in Rumson, New Jersey. When I was in middle school, I suffered from really bad digestive issues. So bad that I actually almost got held back in middle school because I was in and out of the hospital, and they could not figure out what was wrong with me, and it was just good old-fashioned digestive issues. So, I don't want to age myself here. But back then, it wasn't as under a microscope as it is now. Then, I did my whole schooling. I went to school at Pace University for international marketing in New York, and I studied all the core business classes. I would run around my town in Rumson, New Jersey, saying, “I was going to be an actress,” but I never thought-- it's something I said, but I didn't think it would actually happen.
Because growing up in my town, I had no connections whatsoever to Hollywood. I had no family out in California. California just seemed so far away. I was thinking very small. I didn't even know if I'd visit California in my life. So, it wasn't until my last year of school at Pace, I did study abroad in Paris. While I was there, I started taking acting classes on the side, and I was influenced by a lot of my peers that were taking a year or two off from school when I graduated to travel. I said to myself, “If they're doing that, why can't I take a year off, and go to LA, and try to be an actor?” [giggles] I always had this marketing degree to come back to, remember this part? [laughs] The buildup. So, then, I moved to LA. I was also modeling throughout college, and I continued my modeling career out in LA, and then, I started acting classes. I started acting, and loving it, and getting into that rhythm, auditioning, learning more and more and more. I love to just keep learning, and I think no matter what age you are, you should always be learning.
It was during my career in acting where I felt a lot of pressure, your face is on camera, to preserve my youth and always have my face looking fresh, and I literally tried everything. Every face cream, cheap ones, expensive ones. I did laser, like laser Genesis. I even tried Botox. I was desperate to just keep my appearances. A couple of years ago, while I'm in this acting world and modeling, a lot of the food on these acting sets, they have a lot of people to feed, and it doesn't help when there's a bunch of snacks out because I will eat them.
Melanie Avalon: It's a lot of really good food. That's probably not good for you, either.
Melissa Boloña: Oh, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: So much food.
Melissa Boloña: Yes, a lot of food and some of the best food, but you're not really mindful of-- if there's a salad out and a beautiful chicken parm, and you're trying to keep your energy up while working, you better believe I'll be attacking the chicken parm. So, that whole lifestyle caught up with me, and I started to really feel unwell. My sister, Michelle, who is very much in health and wellness, she's like the Bible of the latest and greatest creams and methods to work out and everything. So, I visited her in New York, and we would go and work out, and we would go get bone broth hot on the go. Initially when she first mentioned bone broth to me, I'm like, “That's disgusting. I've never tried it. No, why would I try that?” Then, I was desperate. I'm like, “Okay, I'm going to try this,” and I started to see an insane amount of benefit. Not only did it really make my gut feel great, but I started-- during that phase, where I was just desperate to make a lifestyle change, I was also experiencing a lot of brain fog. I felt this kind of feeling of in and out of purpose. It really, really healed my gut. Then, I started to see the brain fog go away, and my body just started to feel well.
But then, came along with it was changes I started to see personally, obviously, this is how it works for me personally, in which I started to see my face just look way more glowy. I started to visibly see lines in my face decrease. I told you using Botox, and then, when it would wear off, it was like a timer went off, and I'm like, “I need to go to the doctor.” So, at that time, I completely went away, and I could not believe the benefits I was seeing. I've always had the hair, but my hair got out of control thick and I couldn't think of what else that could be except for this. Then, back in LA, my sister came out to visit me. We're like, “Let's keep up this routine,” I was absolutely hooked. Then, that's when I noticed in LA, there wasn't many places like in New York, where you could just grab, and go, and take it hot. That to me was very surprising, because I consider LA the center of health and wellness. So, that is where this idea came from.
January, not this past January, 2019 is when I had this idea. Then, I started slowly executing it and building upon it. I started initially calling farms. I didn't know where to start. I've not started a business before, but I knew that one day I would when something spoke to me. It could have been when I was 50 or 40, but this really spoke to me in a huge way. So, we could get into the whole journey of starting the business, but the business today from launching in November, I'm finding I'm using my acting all the time. I'm producing cooking videos, directing them, I constantly have calls, talk about remembering your lines. Especially now we're gearing up for a fundraiser, where you have to sell yourself, sell your story, and sure my story is real and authentic, but I have to say it sometimes 10 times over in a day, you've got to keep it fresh and exciting. So, I swear acting has really helped me keep up my energy, and passion, and delivery amongst telling my story, and sharing my story, and journey with people which I'm committed and I love doing.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, that was incredible. I have so many thoughts. It's so true, because I'm an actress as well. I definitely didn't anticipate where I am right now with the podcast, and the shows, and it all goes together, and I just love content creation, and it's all really, really wonderful. I couldn't have expected any of this. So, it sounds like we are very, very similar. Even our names are Mel.
Melissa Boloña: I know. I love it that there are two Mels. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I know. I keep looking at our names on the recording platform that we're using, and I'm like, “They're so similar.”
Melissa Boloña: Adorable. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I have often thought to myself, I can't even imagine what it would be like to have that challenge for so long. But to hear the effects that the bone broth had is really, really incredible. I remember the first time I ever tried bone broth, and like you, it sounds so weird the first time you hear it. What's funny is now it just seems completely normal to me like, “Just, oh, yeah. Bone broth.” I think a lot of people, it's way more familiar now. But I do remember the first time I had it and it just felt so healing. It just felt like an elixir of life or something.
Melissa Boloña: Yes, absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: You mentioned calling farms and all of that. I really want to know, starting the company, because like I said, it’s so daunting. So, where does a person start? How did you start?
Melissa Boloña: It's so funny and I love this question, because anyone that knows me well, it's me. The actress and model who's sure has her degree in international marketing. Then, it's like, “Okay, I want to start a company, what do I do?” It was such a cool journey. I can't even believe how much I've learned every single few months, the amount of knowledge I had that I did not have. But yeah, I literally started calling farms. I just remember some of the reactions. You would get some really nice people, you get some people that would just be like, “Ma’am, we have a deal with Whole Foods.” Then, I'm thinking to myself, “Okay, if they have to deal with Whole Foods, I have no business talking to them.” [laughs] But then, you would get some nice people who would then steer you in the right direction, and they would say, “Oh, I think you need to talk to your local butcher.”
Then, we're very, very lucky by the way to be able to have the internet. I can't even imagine how people started businesses way back when. A lot of this, I just did a ton of research on the internet, like how to start a business? I realized that I needed an LLC and I also realized that I should just put some money in a bank account attached to this LLC, and just keep all those expenses separate. This was my basic understanding. The whole journey and whole process even to this day is-- okay, do you know the video game, Zelda?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Melissa Boloña: Okay. It was bit like a game of Zelda, where, first of all, if you want to start a business, if you have started a business, don't stop talking about it, don't stop sharing. There is so much power in sharing, and that's why we are, where we are today. We're launching, we're selling because I shared with anyone who would listen. Once I shared the calls with the farmers, people I met out in person, it was like the game of Zelda, where they would give you an orb, a missing piece of information. This whole business was created and figured out upon people giving you missing pieces of information, and I am someone who loves puzzles. So, this really jived well with me. That's how I got started.
Initially-- I actually love to tell this story. So, I would experiment making different bone broth in my kitchen, different recipes, and I really wanted someone who had real knowledge of nutrition. So, I found a website called meetachef.com, [laughs] and I found this incredible girl named Aleni, this Brazilian girl, where we met off in Huntington Beach, and she brought me a sample of broth, and then, we would work on it every week going back and forth. I was still doing the recipes to come to the recipes we have now that I'm incredibly proud of. But initially, I thought I'd be producing this myself, the bone broth. So, that was even kind of funny because I got my ServSafe manager license.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I have that. [laughs]
Melissa Boloña: It’s so funny. We are the same.
Melanie Avalon: I know, we are the same.
Melissa Boloña: I got that, and I've got to be honest with you. I don't think I've ever admitted this to anyone, but I don't care because I no longer need it. The first time, I failed the test. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, the ServSafe?
Melissa Boloña: Yes. Then, I had to go back in a week later, and retake it, and I passed with flying colors.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness. I took it online. You went in person?
Melissa Boloña: Yes. I had to go in person.
Melanie Avalon: That's commitment.
Melissa Boloña: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: I love that. It's so funny.
Melissa Boloña: Yeah, I thought I'd be producing it myself, and I had a very defeating moment as an entrepreneur when I started really digging into the numbers and insurances and workers comp, and I just had a little offsite kitchen that caters to this model. I started to realize how much it costs with workers comp and everything. I also started to realize that every day I was at that kitchen, we're dealing with cooks and what have you. I grew up working in a restaurant for six years, so I'm very, very familiar with running a kitchen and the headaches that come with it. I realized every day I'd be at that kitchen that it was a day detracted from selling and operating a business. So, I had all this cookware and everything in the kitchen. I had to put my tail between my legs, contact them the day the kitchen was due to open, and I said, “I'm sorry. I have to pull the plug. I'm in over my head. I'm starting to realize this isn't the route I should go.” You can only imagine what a blow that was to me and my ego, and feeling like, “I couldn't do it.”
It literally took me about a month to digest the information. I felt so ashamed. Then, I started researching co-manufacturers and co-packers heavily. I fell off the horse, I got back on. It took me a while to find a supply chain and a lot of convincing, because I'm a very small customer to these supply chains. But I found a great group of people who believed in me, who brought me and Aleni's a recipe to life, and exceeded my expectations in terms of how clean it is and how flavorful with all real ingredients. Zero ingredients you don't recognize. All USDA-certified organic, which I'm incredibly proud of. So, I feel I'm living my bone broth dreams.
Melanie Avalon: The kitchen situation, it was like a model where they have kitchen, they basically rent out to people that want to use it to produce something?
Melissa Boloña: Yes, it's this warehouse model. There's a few companies out there like this. It could work for other people just didn't happen to work for me with the product I'm producing partially, because of the commanding cook time on the stove for bone broth. If you really want a successful nutrient-rich bone broth, it better be on the stove for at least 24 hours. Yes, there's these warehouses with a bunch of little rooms, small, medium, large, depending on your company, where you could produce your own products. Some of these kitchens also have the Postmates, Uber Eats model integrated there. So, if they're producing food for your company or whatever it is, they could also submit takeout orders.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. Okay. I definitely want to circle back to the actual production of the broth, what you mentioned with the simmering and everything. But this really resonates with me, because one of the things that I personally struggle with is I want to do everything myself. I feel like if I were in your situation, I would have done a similar thing. How can I actually make it and do it? It's so hard to find the balance between when you're creating something, letting go, like partnering with other people and knowing what to outsource and what not to outsource, and what should you be doing. So, that's really inspiring to hear. For people who want to start their own company, you found that to be a nice method where you're working with other people to bring it to life.
Melissa Boloña: I'm so glad he brought this up, Melanie, because I'm beginning to think even more, we're the same person. I am one of those people where-- I am glad you mentioned it, because now, it's something I had not thought about before this. There's been a huge change in myself from the beginning to now. I am someone that-- control's the wrong word. But I want everything to be the best, and I care about every aspect, and I want to do it all, because I want to make sure it runs the way. I want it to run, especially if you're creating something. So, it's very, very hard to let go and distribute different components.
What I started to realize and what I've come to realize the past few years since creating this company is that you have to. There is no ‘I’ in team, and I don't care if you are superwoman, you cannot do this alone. It takes a while. I did it alone for a while. I did it alone for the first year. Mind you, I had the bounce-back with Aleni, who I told you, that I had an advisor along the way. That was one of the hardest parts of starting a company, was not having a partner to bounce off of. So, you find some candidates along the way to bounce back with and delegate responsibilities. But I'm telling you right now, there's a lot of people like you and I out there, and you need to learn to let go and find good people and delegate responsibilities, because your bandwidth is better served at doing what you're best at and growing the business, and you'll find that people, you bring on along the way, you'll start to see, with all their energy and efforts focused on this one specific thing, it exceeded your expectations. So, it's essential.
Now, I have a lot of parts delegated. We just launched in November, and we have a childhood friend of mine who does the marketing, Leana, kick ass, does an amazing job. We have a couple of interns who are rock stars. We have a brand partnership girl. Of course, I oversee everything, but even having someone with the marketing who's now overseeing social, I get involved a bit of on the social media, but it's now been delegated, where my energy is focused on developing new formulas, getting seen in new places, pushing the company forward. So, delegating responsibilities is huge to grow a business, and it's essential. If I'm saying that, I am someone with that likes controlling every aspect and I'm finally at peace with that, and I think it's great, and I can't even believe I did it any other way before this.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm the exact same way. I think the biggest step I made forward with the podcast was, when one of my mentors was like, “You've got to--” because I was for the longest time with both of the shows, I was doing the recording, I was doing the editing, I was doing the show notes, because I had this fear that if I wasn't doing it, it wouldn't be up to the caliber of what I wanted it to be. But then, my mentor was like, “You've got to outsource that.” You've got to find somebody that you trust, who can do it the way you would like it, because just the amount of time, it's not going to serve you if it continues to be spent there, and it's very scary to let go off the control.
Melissa Boloña: Oh, totally. I'm proud of you though because that was great advice. You know the special moments you want in your podcast, but ultimately, if you get a good editor and they have listened to your episodes, they learn a lot about you in the style you like things done, and you could focus more on growing your business.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. It's like working with a team that you really trust, the possibilities just continue to open up, because you realize how much more that you can do. Going back though, to the actual creation of the bone broth, it sounds like me. You're very specific in what you wanted, and I think this is so huge, because I got a lot of questions. I asked for questions for listeners about this topic, and I got so many questions about the differences between most conventional bone broth in the store and then ones that appear to be more “quality,” but then ones that even then if it's packaged, is it better to make your own? So, when you approach this, what was important to you in making your version of bone broth?
Melissa Boloña: Yes, I love those kinds of questions, because I was those people asking the questions. I know what was important to me, and it was to have-- First of all, I'm going to start a company and leave my cushy, little acting life and take a huge risk on myself, you better believe it's going to be top notch. What was really important to me, I'm someone who loves animals. I have a couple of dogs. So, that was really important to me of where we sourced the bones from, and how they are treated, and also, in which I'll get into, and also, the ingredients I wanted it all organic, and I wanted every single ingredient to be something you recognize versus some sort of chemical you can't pronounce. I wanted it to be extremely convenient, because people can make it at home.
If you make it convenient for them, for people who are busy with the product, with a bunch of integrity, then it's a homerun, and could help people in their lives to maintain this lifestyle in routine, and not stress out over making it weekly, because it's easy to make. It's just a demanding time on the stove. You can't be having your stove on for 24 to 48 hours, which is something I tell-- Oh, God I'll never forget. I had electric kettles. I would move the big, big heavy pot to the electric kettle. Not a kettle but burner overnight, and it would taste different every time. There was no consistency, because the electric burner to the stove changed the way it tastes. So, that's extremely difficult. Back to the product. For our bones, we source chicken from Mary's organic chicken.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, Mary's. California, LA.
Melissa Boloña: Exactly. So, I'm very proud of that. They treat their chickens very humanely. It's free-range vegetarian fed. Our beef bones also come from a farm in America, and they are also-- Well, they're grass fed in a free range. Seal of approval is having both of them USDA Organic. So, it's the USDA Organic, there's an element of the animal welfare that's within that stamp of approval, and I'm proud to say that, out of six of my biggest competitors, I'm two of which have the beef that certified USDA Organic.
Melanie Avalon: Wow, wait, wow. That's huge. That's amazing.
Melissa Boloña: Thank you. I'm very, very proud of that because the USDA is no joke. They are there when it's made, they inspect your packaging, and they care a whole lot. So, I'm very proud of that, and I'm very proud of the welfare of the animals in this process. And also, our organic ingredients, our super ingredients we use, in the chicken we use turmeric and ginger, which really, really aid with the anti-inflammation properties of our chicken bone broth. Then, the beef, we use mushrooms and kelp. So, we're using all these super ingredients with the purest of product. Something I love to tell people is, there is no salt added, which people can't believe when they taste our broth, then they see the sodium content, they look at the ingredients, they see no salt is there, and they see the sodium levels are very low. That's something a lot of nutritionists have reached out to me about, because they can't believe it. Because they recommend bone broth to all their clients, and they tell them to make it at home, because of the sodium in a lot of the bone broths out on the market. So, that's something that's also important to me.
I've had a boyfriend whose mom died from very-- Officially, she had way too much sodium in her life. So, that was also very important to me. Something that's the ultimate deal closer is the form we are in. We are concentrated and shelf stable. What does that mean? We are shelf stable with no preservatives. Our product is good for up to 10 to 12 months in your cupboard. No preservatives. So, we are capturing the freshness of the project-- not project, product, and I guess project. Bringing the heat up slowly and slightly bringing it back down and it is shelf stable.
Concentrated form. This this one gets me because people don't understand it, I never understood it either until I physically visited my co-manufacturer. They had my recipes on the table, I was trying them on the special cup that comes in our packaging, and it was delicious, great. This issue would keep me up at night, which was shipping a frozen product around America, and also, this full cup having it sweat and leak. Then, at the corner of the table, I saw what looked like a hockey puck, and I kept saying. “Well, what's that over there?” They're trying to get me to refocus the recipe in the cup. They're like, Oh, Melissa, that's just the bone broth in concentrated form until we ship it to the co-packer, because shipping is very expensive, and we cook it down. It's the same exact thing except the co-packer reconstitutes it with water." I was like, “Hold on a minute.”
Melanie Avalon: Like, “Wait, I want that.” [laughs]
Melissa Boloña: Yeah, "You're trying to tell me it's the same exact thing?" Yes. So, what I realized is not only is it more convenient for the customer in terms of storage, and taking it on the go with you, but it's more customizable. Some people like bone broth strong, some people like it weak. So, this becomes the ultimate convenience for the customer to take it on the go, take it on planes, add your desired amount of hot water, and incorporate this into your routine. When I discovered that, it was a huge, another huge moment. The second biggest moment from making it ourselves to a supply chain to changing the whole business model. That was the second big aha moment for us. If I didn't visit them-- I'm a big relationships person, and no matter how hard you work, you need to get out there and meet people and take meetings to have a successful business. To me, it's both sitting down on your laptop and making it happen in real time. If I didn't go out and visit them, I would have never discovered that model. So, that's something I'm very proud of because I think it's incredibly unique and we're one of the only people in the country doing it this way.
Melanie Avalon: I've tried a lot of different bone broths and from a lot of different companies that I do love, but typically, especially, the ones I really love, they're often frozen, and they're very large, and you have to keep them frozen, and they take up a lot of space in my chest freezer. So, your model is just brilliant because for listeners, if you go to the website and order some, you'll see, like you said, it's so convenient, it's easy to store. And then, I love that what you said about how that you can make it to the strength that you like. So, how do you recommend that listeners when they get the broth, how they actually use it as far as reconstituting it, and having it plain or putting it in recipes?
Melissa Boloña: Yes. In the concentrated format, in the pouch you receive, it's eight times stronger than your average bone broth. Then, in our regular box comes this amazing rice husk BPA-free cup that's also microwave safe. You pour the concentrate into that cup or a mug you have at your house, and you fill it-- We recommend eight ounces of hot water but once again, you could do less, you could do more, and you pour it in with the concentrate. It generally mixes on its own, but you could give it a little whirl. Then, in that form with the water in it, still two times stronger. So, I have it as a drink, I typically have it after my coffee, and it curbs my appetite until I'm ready to eat a later lunch, which has been great for me because I will eat everything in sight.
But we also do a lot of cooking with it to integrate it into our routine at night. We have a bunch of cooking videos on our IGTV and Reels on our Instagram. We made some really fun recipes from soaking the broth in quinoa to some soups. We even just made some smoothies, which actually tasted amazing.
Melanie Avalon: Oh wow. Are they savory smoothies or fruity smoothies?
Melissa Boloña: No, we did this smoothie, what did we do? We used kale. I think we used some carrots, obviously the bone broth, and they didn't taste sweet. It tasted, I don't know, nice.
Melanie Avalon: [laughs] I love it.
Melissa Boloña: I don't know the word here, but it was really, really good. I was very impressed.
Melanie Avalon: I will put a link in the show notes to all of this content so that listeners can check it out with the recipes and everything. You do make this through simmering, slow simmering, and I got a lot of questions from listeners about the difference between making bone broth through pressure cooking, like an instant pot versus slow simmering it. So, what have you seen as far as how that affects the nutrition and the taste? Why did you choose the method that you chose?
Melissa Boloña: This was also something that was really important to me. I started to do a ton of research that was also a big part of your one, was the research. I started it that way, and I started to learn that pressure cooking and slow cooking-- A lot of people are attracted to use a slow cooker at home, but it doesn't extract a lot of the nutrients from the bone. The biggest benefits of bone broth come from the bone breaking down over the long, slow cook time to slowly release the nutrients and collagen. Something that's awful about pressure cooking is it just does it all at once, everything's broken up, and it's not extracting a whole lot of benefit from the bone. Something we do, our chicken and beef are intact. So, as it breaks down, it's not in pieces where it gets lost in the shuffle of ingredients and might not hit a certain level of heat to release the benefits from the bone. When it's intact, it releases the benefits much more and also slowly over the long periods of time. So, it's the best way to possibly cook bone broth.
If you are going to do it at home, please do it on the stove and do it over long periods of time. If you need to do what I did while I was developing it, get an electric burner and carefully move, I repeat carefully because I did burn myself a bunch, the pot to the electric cooker for overnight cooking, because that could be dangerous. If the fire obviously goes out then you have gas in your house, [laughs] which is also I've been so passionate about creating this company, because I see how inconvenient it is for people and how much this should be in people's lives. So, my one recommendation is, please stay away from anyone that kettle cooks, doesn't use organic bones, because the organic bones have the best benefits. You want the best bones possible. Even if you're looking at the butcher shop to do it at home, the best bones possible, the thickest bones possible, the backbones, the marrow, the knuckle. I even love chicken feet. So, you want the strongest and organic. That's what you should look for, and you should definitely look for people who truly, slowly simmer.
Melanie Avalon: The questions I had because listeners like to hear their questions. From Elise, it was, "Does the bone broth made in the pressure cooker have as many nutrients as traditional bone broth slow simmered?" Jenny had said, "Does the instant pot process decrease the nutrients?" So, it sounds like it's not so much that it decreases the nutrients as much as it doesn't allow as many of the nutrients.
Melissa Boloña: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. When you say intact, do you mean that there's still meat on the bone or what did you mean by intact?
Melissa Boloña: With the ligaments all intact attaching the bones to one another, no meat on it. But when I was first experimenting, I did put some beef shanks in there for flavor but I've come to the method with my co-manufacturer that we're able to get a ton of flavor other ways, natural ways without using beef shank. But if you're at home and doing it, why not? So, yes. Intact, just make sure the bones are all attached, especially for the chicken. For the beef, make sure that the bones are the thickest bones possible that one you can't really do completely attached, but you could do big femur bones and stuff like that.
Melanie Avalon: It has the connective tissue between?
Melissa Boloña: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, which I'm guessing there's a lot of collagen, glycine, and such in that?
Melissa Boloña: Yes, absolutely. Huge amounts.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. There's a good question from Alicia. "Am I actually releasing all of the undesirable things that were stored in the animal as it grew? Is it better to have no bone broth rather than chemical soup, conventional bone broth?" Basically, because there's a lot of bone broths-- or I don't know if there's a lot. But there’s bone broth out there that don't use organic bones and might just be from conventional animals, do you think there's potentially more harm than good drinking bone broth, if it came from conventionally raised animals because of the toxins that might be stored in them?
Melissa Boloña: You really just have to remember, you are what you eat, and you're not getting a whole lot of benefit having broth from a stressed-out animal. Just like us, when we get stressed out, we get sick, and the animal is no different. You really should be finding a source where not only is it organic but fed a great diet and leading a great life. As far as not drinking to drinking it, at that point, I would opt to not drink it just because the stress-out animal is sick internally, and the benefits are going to be minimal. They're not going to have the healthiest bones to extract benefit from, and the microbes that come with a stressed-out animal, I just don't think it would be worth it. I would just rather see you source your bones from your butcher, where they are organic. I'm not one of those bougie people where everything needs to be organic, although, nowadays, stuff like that's becoming more important to me. But just seeing especially the information I'm learning about the gut and having an animal stressed out, it's just not worth it.
Melanie Avalon: I agree completely and for listeners, because somebody asked me the other day, what episodes I had on this topic about the importance of humanely raised animals and how it affects our nutrition. So, I'll put a link in the show notes, I did an episode with Teri Cochrane. She wrote a book called Wildatarian. She actually talks about-- Have you read her book or heard of her, Melissa?
Melissa Boloña: No, but you've got another customer for her right here. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Her theory that she studies, she studies how the stress conditions raising animals leads to the formation of amyloid proteins. It basically truncates their protein. It makes it when we eat the conventional animal, we literally can't break it down. It's not possible for us to break down that protein and it's because of the stress situations. So, she thinks that's a major role and a lot of the health issues that we have today. It's so, so fascinating.
Melissa Boloña: For sure, and I believe it more than ever, you are what you eat. I'm not going to say it's a fact, but in my mind, it's a fact. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I agree. So, I'll put a link to that. I'll put a link to-- I had Anya Fernald on the show. I'll also put a link to Robb Wolf for Sacred Cow. Those interviews have all been amazing if listeners would like to learn more about all of that. So, another question about the bone broth and everything. Actually, how much do you recommend people drink it or eat it? Keisha said, "How often should you be drinking and how much a day?"
Melissa Boloña: I always recommend two cups a day to really see benefit, and that's when I feel I started to see benefit tenfold. I did see benefit from drinking one cup a day. If you want to start there, then great. Then, some people do these fasts with bone broth where they could drink up to five cups a day, but I wouldn't drink more than that.
Melanie Avalon: Have you done personally, a bone broth fast?
Melissa Boloña: I've done a soup fast where all the soups had a bone broth base. I'm not someone that could do a total fast because I would just be so mean and so hangry. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I hear ya. I hear ya. The timeline, how long from when you first had the idea to when you launched?
Melissa Boloña: A year and 10 months from when I had the idea to launch.
Melanie Avalon: I feel that's very impressive. What was the most unexpected thing? Because you were talking about the Zelda and how-- it's so true, you feel you're just getting information. So, what was the most thing that you just didn't ever realize or think about with starting your business?
Melissa Boloña: I just remember when I was still full time acting, and now doing this company, and as a lot of work, research, and development, and I just remember thinking, "I could take this day to go work out, go do this audition, go do this," and the reality of it is, since, we had the product, and we were then placing the purchase order to go through the supply chain and launch, what you realize is, your life changes drastically. It changes track drastically the moment you start, even the research and development phase, because it is what you make out of it. Then, this thing becomes your baby. But the thing that's amazing is the amount of work is a lot. But when you really love something, it's not that much work. My sister's always like, “Be careful. Meditate. You're going to burn out.” But then, I say to myself like, "I actually love it." I think I really do. But sure, treat yourself kindly.
But I think that's not something I recognized was, how much work it would be. It's every day from 7 to 11. Every day is different which I love, and you just put all your energy, efforts behind it. You come up with new ideas, you build a team, and it becomes this whole vehicle that runs like a machine, and you want to keep fueling the machine, and you are the machine. So, I think that's not something I recognize thinking I could do a few other things while I do this. You have to be committed, and you have to treat this as your number one priority, because it really is like having a baby.
Melanie Avalon: That's something I've also struggled with. There's so many things I want to do, and it's like do I pursue all of these projects I want to do or do I need to focus on one? That's always been a huge question for me. I guess it might depend on the expanse of the project but it sounds like something launching a company.
Melissa Boloña: Yeah, I would love to hear more about it. Some of these things could really only age or brand that could go hand-in-hand and be incorporated into the vehicle you already have.
Melanie Avalon: This is a curveball random question. Katie wants to know, "Is there a reasonable vegan alternative?"
Melissa Boloña: So glad, you asked Katie. There's going to be a very reasonable vegan alternative in about a month and a half, Beauty & the Broth will be launching a vegan skew. We're on our fourth round of R&D with my supply chain. Right now, it has nutritional yeast, kombu, mushrooms, ginger, oh, yes and white miso. What I like about these ingredients is nothing will completely mimic bone broth in full transparency, but this will actually be, ours will be high in protein, my co-manufacturers pulling off. Of course, you can't get collagen but there's going to be a lot of things that will mimic what collagen does in the bone broth. These ingredients are great for your hair, skin, and nails. So, that's something that's really important to me.
On the topic of collagen, I would never put collagen powder in the vegan skew or in any skew just simply because your body cannot absorb powder very well at all. To me, bone broth or even that goes through your gut that's served hot, it's the easiest way for your body to absorb the collagen. In fact, the molecules in the collagen bone broth are smaller than those in face cream. While we're going to mimic a lot of these benefits in the vegan, it won't be as good as traditional bone broth, but it will be definitely help your gut, help inflammation, and give you some of the benefits that collagen has to offer.
Melanie Avalon: Have you thought about doing bone broth cosmetic line?
Melissa Boloña: Well, Melanie, it's funny, you should mention that. That is year three of Beauty & the Broth. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, exciting.
Melissa Boloña: We really are the same person. It's starting to freak me out. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: You were talking about the absorption potential. I was like, “Hmm, thinking about this.”
Melissa Boloña: I love it. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I'm the type of person that rather than using a caffeine serum or something, I just splash coffee on my face, and I was thinking when you were saying that I was like, “I wonder if I could splash bone broth on my face.” I'd have to know more about the actual-- how it can be assimilated through the skin topically?
Melissa Boloña: Totally. This is something probably in the fall when we’re doing a lot more research on because that is our objective to have a skincare line as well.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, so, so exciting. Well, that was one of my questions was, what are you excited about what the future of the company, that, anything else?
Melissa Boloña: The sky's the limit. I’m, obviously, very excited for this vegan skew. I'm also working on getting together what I like to call flavor bombs, which will be a bunch of super ingredients in a tea sachet that you can infuse your broth with. Our broth standalone doesn't need that but if you're going to make this a part of your routine and be on it for six months straight, of course, you're going to want to spice it up a bit. So, that's something I'm excited about as well. I'm excited to move to other hotels. We're now in the one hotel in South Beach and kind of go that route. I'm excited to move to supermarkets and smaller retail locations. I'm excited to launch more skews and have a turkey one, a bison, have a fish one. I even want to eventually do one for dogs, and then, of course, move into the actual skincare line.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, actually, because Tracy asked, "Is there any benefit to using the bones of more than one animal?"
Melissa Boloña: Different animals and even fish have their own different benefits. Even with the chicken and beef, with the chicken, they both are largely similar, but there are different benefits. The chicken is really great for immune boosting. It's really great for the anti-inflammatory properties. The beef is great for the collagen levels. They’re both great for that but if I was to pick one to be the representative for these, that's what I would say. The beef is also great for post-workout recovery and to help repair your joints.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I love it. Here's a question for me. Do you think your experience of starting this company as a woman specifically, everybody's experiences obviously individual when starting a company, but do you think being a woman that the experience, the relationships, the hurdles, the challenges, do you think it's different for females in our modern world?
Melissa Boloña: I would be lying if I said no. This is also where acting has helped me because I came from that whole world as well, and I've seen some stuff. What frustrates me and I don't let it hold me back, because I'm from New Jersey, I don't give an F, I'll just say. But there's been experiences where either like investors or people that want to make intros for certain retail locations.
I'll tell you an example. A couple months ago, I was in Miami, and people were trying the product. There was a big networking event. This one guy absolutely loved it. He’s a married guy and I'm just there with my CMO talking about the business. He knows I live in Nashville, and he's like, “Listen, there's someone I really want to introduce you to that I think would be a great investor for Beauty & the Broth. But just be careful, keep it on email, don't meet up with him for coffee because you're a very attractive woman, and his wife gets really jealous, and I don't want to ruin that relationship for you.” I was just like, “Excuse me?” I didn't say that, but I was thinking it. Like, “What the hell does my looks and everything has to do with someone believing and wanting to invest in my business?” Stuff like that comes off and it's frustrating but you just brush it off your shoulders, and you move forward, and you're just like, “Whatever. I'll show all of you."
Melanie Avalon: That's insane. Yeah, it's something I feel really passionate about. I know the issues that there can be and weird experiences like that, where it's just like, “Really, this is still happening today?” It sounds calculated if I say use to my advantage, but just embrace the benefits that I can from being female and being perhaps less common in the sphere, because it makes it unique.
Melissa Boloña: By the way, I love that you said that. That is great. What do they say? If you can't beat them, join them. So, you know what? Exactly. Use it to your freaking advantage, if that's the way it's going to be because you can't control it. So, I love that. Use it to your advantage.
Melanie Avalon: Especially, with my show, because I interview a lot of really smart, intelligent, very, very well-known people, and I don't really experience this from any of the guests that I've interviewed or anything like that. But I do think people maybe when they just see me, it's like, “Oh, a young blonde.” I feel like I have to very quickly end the conversations that I have with the guests, establish my credibility, establish that I have a brain and [laughs] that I can engage in the conversation. I think it does just come down to stereotypes and I've thought about this a lot as well. Maybe, this is getting too emotional or esoteric, but I feel it's just an underlying current in the culture that is accepted, that may or may not change just as far as how women are viewed. I feel like it's just an underlying current, and it's not bad, so nobody really feels the need to address it so much, but it's just there. I'm not being calculated, but I love being a female. [laughs] I think it's the best thing ever.
Melissa Boloña: We're both smart women, and you know what? At the end of the day, freaking spin it what you will but use any benefit you have, and if that's one of them, go for it. Because I completely agree with everything you just said, and I love that.
Melanie Avalon: We're going to have to do something together. Collaborate on something.
Melissa Boloña: I know. We have to. I'm like, “Can we meet up, and drive, and meet each other?” We can meet in Chattanooga.
Melanie Avalon: We could.
Melissa Boloña: I'm in. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Okay, let's plan this. We could drive, meet for drinks. [laughs] Oh, wait, we can't drive back. [laughs] We'll figure this out. We'll figure this out.
Melissa Boloña: Oh, love it.
Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely amazing. Was there anything that you wanted to touch on that I did not address, yet?
Melissa Boloña: So much information is coming out on the gut every single day. They're linking depression and anxiety to it. Our skin is linked to it. They're linking our personalities to it. They're in the process of doing the Human Microbiome Project. So, I just think if you're listening, to start focusing more on your gut. And gut instincts, by the way, that's a real thing that stems because your gut holds a lot of the emotions in there. So, please take care of your gut. If you want to make the bone broth at home, make it at home, but you should be having bone broth that lines your gut and doing other things for your gut, such as having kefir and other probiotics for it. I think everyone's going to be very surprised to see all the information that keeps coming out.
Melanie Avalon: I am so glad you touched on that. It's almost shocking to me how little I feel we know about the massive expansive universe of our gut and our microbiome. For the longest time, I feel it was just a dark hole, like a black hole of we just don't really know what is going on down there, and now we're just realizing more and more how insanely it affects everything in our existence. So, the bone broth is an amazing way to support that. This is absolutely, absolutely incredible, and very important question. Do you sell the bone broth a la carte, is this a subscription service, how does it work for listeners who would like to purchase?
Melissa Boloña: Right now, we’re online direct to consumer and the one hotel, South Beach. Online, we offer one time purchase only and subscription, and it comes with a minimum of 12. So, you can either do all beef, all chicken, mix and match, and then when the vegans are up and running, we're going to incorporate that into the mix.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, awesome. So, for listeners, I will put links to all of this in the show notes, and I am so, so grateful, because Melissa is going to offer a discount code just for my audience. That code will be MELANIEAVALON. You can apply that to your order for a discount. Thank you so much for that.
Melissa Boloña: Yes, thank you, Melania. I was so excited to speak with you, and I can't wait to meet up in Chattanooga.
Melanie Avalon: I know. One last really quick question and this is the last question that I ask every single guest on the show, and it's just because I realize more and more each day how incredibly important mindset is surrounding everything. So, what is something that you're grateful for?
Melissa Boloña: I'm very grateful for my sister and my puppies.
Melanie Avalon: Aww, I love it. How many do you have?
Melissa Boloña: Oh, together, we have three. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Wow, it’s a family. [laughs]
Melissa Boloña: Yeah. We got ourselves a family.
Melanie Avalon: Well, this has been absolutely amazing. I was so looking forward to this conversation, and it was even more fun and inspiring than I thought it was going to be, and I can't wait to air it. The listeners are going to love it. So, thank you.
Melissa Boloña: Thank you so much, Melanie, and please email me offline, because I would love to connect. Thank you so much for your time, and this was a lot of fun.
Melanie Avalon: You too. I'll talk to you soon.
Melissa Boloña: Thank you. Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.